USGBC-LA Launches 2nd Cohort of ‘Net Zero Accelerator’ to Speed Viable Building Tech’s Move into the Market for a Net Positive Future

Applications Now Being Accepted: April 2 – May 18

LOS ANGELES (April 2, 2020) The U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles Chapter (USGBC-LA) today opens applications for the second cohort of the Net Zero Accelerator (NZA), which will identify viable net zero building technologies, position them for success, and accelerate their market entry throughout the greater Los Angeles region. The first NZA cohort completed the program in Dec. 2019, initiating over 30 active technology pilot projects among the 13 cohort companies providing innovative technology solutions to over 25 building owners and managers. A different type of accelerator, the NZA focuses on removing the biggest barriers to viable building technology reaching the market. Applications are now being accepted at https://gust.com/programs/net-zero-accelerator-2020. To learn more, visit https://usgbc-la.org/programs/net-zero-accelerator.

“Real estate remains one of the most challenging sectors to get new technology to market with significant potential remaining to disrupt the status quo around construction and decarbonization of our building materials and operations,” states Ben Stapleton, USGBC-LA Executive Director. “With the crisis we are experiencing around COVID-19, we are also shining a light on the need to provide healthy spaces for all people and that can be done through improvements in indoor air quality, light, and access to urban agriculture.

“We have an incredible opportunity in Los Angeles with one of the largest real estate markets in the world, alignment on building policy and many owners and operators who are committed to a net zero future. Through the Net Zero Accelerator, we source innovative startups, pair them with experts to encourage scalable adoption, and broadly promote awareness of solutions with an emphasis on placing technology pilots with building partners.”

The Net Zero Accelerator focuses on “pilot ready” and market ready solutions that help make zero carbon, zero energy, zero water, and zero waste buildings a reality for the region today. The accelerator sources companies—domestic and international—with an emphasis on promotion and placing pilots with building partners during the program. Technology focus areas for 2020 emphasize Occupant Health, Clean Construction, and Building Decarbonization.

A priority for this year’s cohort will be to engage affordable and multi-family housing owner/operators to place these building solutions where they are sorely needed.

According to CoStar, there are 274,200 units of housing, or roughly 41% of the number of multifamily units in the City that are located in high-risk Disadvantaged Communities (DAC), or areas most burdened by environmental and socioeconomic issues, and the majority of these are unsubsidized lower-cost units. As a strategy to address equity, green building practices can offer affordable housing sites opportunities that include energy savings and efficiency upgrades that generate lower bills, making funds available for maintenance and resident services; and healthier building materials and technologies that improve indoor air quality.

Highly subsidized to selected applicants, and with no equity participation required, the annual accelerator is highly competitive and includes:

  • High-impact acceleration services with industry experts, focused on results.
  • Sustained, professional marketing and storytelling through a leading and respected organization to amplify awareness of cohort companies and technologies.
  • High potential for pilots with partner building sites, with leads and business development opportunities from committed owner-operators.
  • Peer-to-peer learning, networking, and talent sourcing opportunities.

Neal Anderson, Director of the Accelerator, states, “There are a lot of great resources out there for startups, both in LA and beyond. The Net Zero Accelerator is exciting and different, as the laser focus is to get viable solutions directly into the built environment right now, and celebrate the heck out of these market-ready innovators and green building leaders. Validating your business and getting those first customers is tough stuff for emerging entrepreneurs, let alone getting the right attention from the right people. By addressing those barriers head-on, the companies that make the cut will get critical support from amazing and committed partners that are driving a net zero future. The wide range of expertise and resources that USGBC-LA can offer these companies is powerful and real as confirmed by the 2019 cohort.”

With the baseline goal of getting 10 pilot-ready technologies into 10 buildings, expert building owners/operators, industry experts, investors, utilities, and large corporates are continually being recruited, with the following committing their early engagement: Blue Bear Capital, BuroHappold Engineering, CA State University at Dominguez Hills, the City of Los Angeles, Fifth Wall Ventures, Frederick Fisher and Partners, Gensler, HDR, Hudson Pacific Properties, i(x) investments, Kilroy Realty Corporation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Metropolitan Water District, Rising Realty, Skanska, Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, UCLA, Vanir Construction, and The Westin Bonaventure.

Addressing the climate crisis is an all-hands on deck challenge. That means we need to unleash the creativity of entrepreneurs to provide products and services that contribute to decarbonization. The Net Zero Accelerator plays an important role in fostering the green tech environment,” shares Christine Harada, President, i(x) investments. “The first cohort of companies in the NZA showcased great solutions for decarbonizing the built environment – I thoroughly enjoyed working with them to identify business leads and sources of capital. I am inspired by their ingenuity and resilience, and look forward to cultivating the next cohort.”

Sara Neff, SVP of Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corp., notes, “We are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint of our portfolio. Hosting USGBC-LA Net Zero Accelerator pilots out of the first cohort has helped us drive energy reductions, and we look forward to meeting the new class of NZA companies.”

For more information on the Net Zero Accelerator, contact Neal Anderson at accelerator@usgbc-la.org. For information on USGBC-LA, please contact Ben Stapleton at ben@usgbc-la.org or Fernanda Zuin at fernanda@usgbc-la.org.

About U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles

USGBC-LA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to creating a prosperous and sustainable future within one generation. Our mission promotes sustainability in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties’ built environment by delivering access to knowledge, resources, recognition and networking.

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